By Valerie Fraling, Special to the AFRO

Women now make up approximately half of the workforce – very positive. Two-thirds of all families are either headed by a single-head of household or two working parents, and particularly in this economically challenging time, that second income is more important than ever. However, women are still only earning 75 percent of what men are earning.Valerie Jarrett

During Women’s International History month, we remember that the success of women has been due to the support and diligence of other women. This month the Reston Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and the Washington DC Chapter of The Society Incorporated, sponsored their bi-annual “Youth Arts Showcase Explosion … Moving Full STEAM Ahead” event, in collaboration with the Community Initiatives Education Division of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

“Buckle up and know that it’s going to be a tremendous amount of work but embrace it.” — Tory Burch

Six extraordinarily talented African American High School seniors, from the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia showcased their talents on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium stage. Each student a scholarship toward the advancement of their education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM).  The organizations held separate workshops for the parents and the students to provide guidance on, “Having a Successful College Experience”, and, “Paving the Way to a Successful Performing Career. The extremely talented students participating were Taesia Edmonds, Zaria Hawkins, Logan Jennings Joshua Teague, Heaven Wilburn and Jobari Yarbrough. The talent each performer demonstrated in dance, vocal and saxophone was evident by the rousing standing applause they received from the audience and the visitors who stood five deep in the lobby who just happened to be walking by and were mesmerized by the performers. Special guests performers were dancers from the Jones-Haywood Dance School, Jennifer Jenkins and Takesha Kizart.

“Why do we insist on perpetuating stereotypes that will affect each and every one of us someday?”  Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO AARP and author of Disrupt Aging: A Bold New Path to Living Your Best Life at Every Age

Guests in attendance were Julia Pollard National President of the Society Incorporated, Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO AARP, Ret. General Kip Ward, Link Joyce Ward, Ret. Colonel Gregory Packer, Link Lisa Lee Packer, Michele McNeill Emery and Link members from area chapters.

So, I am 63 and I am not yet done. So what is your excuse? I never went to a University and I am proud to say so because I don’t think I have done too badly.” Folorunsho Alakija, Vice Chair, Famfa Oil

Honoring women who make a difference whether as an individual, in business, social or an organization. they continue to make a difference in the development of our society through their selfless contributions. Look into your woman circle and recognize those who contribute to the quilting of your circle and the community. Living for the Weekend just did.

Marsha Jews, Stacey Rodgers, Ernestine Jones Jolivet, Gloria Marrow, Monica Watkins, Dr. Patricia Schmoke, Dr. Rodetta Morris, Lora Mayo, Patricia Jessamy, Dr. Toni Draper, Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, Rosalyn Smith, First Lady Patricia Thomas, First Lady Rhonda Boozer Yeary, First Lady Marlaa Reid, Mayor Catherine Pugh, The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings Blake, The Honorable Sheila Dixon, Dr. Marie Washington, Dana Henson, Nicole”Nikki” Nicholson, Nikita Haysbert, Linda James,  Dana Peterson Moore, Janet Johnson, Betty Holland Hines, Shelonda Stokes, Jazzy Tarsha Fitzgerald, Rambling Rosa Trusty, Sonje DeCairnes, City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, Catalina Byrd, Ronnie Jackson, Marietta English, Mary Pat Clarke. Bernice McDaniel, Jacqueline Richardson, Zoey Washington-Sheff, Jackie Washington, Judge Yvonne Holt-Stone, Rev. Dorothy Boulware, Mildred Harris, Rev. Tamara England, Bishop Josephine Truxon Ridgely, Rev. Marie Braxton, Ann Winder, Candes Daniels, Takeia Hinton, Dr. Ann Emery, Mildred Taylor, Blanche Beckham, Vera Abrams Newton, Dr. Tanya Ringgold, Tenyo Pearl, Jasmine Richardson, Karen Miller, Dr. Nina Rawlings, Joyce Smith, Delegate Shelley Hettleman, Delegate Cheryl Glenn, Monica Rutherford, Dr. Maya Cummings, Aja Page Hill, Tracee Strum Gilliam, Alicia Wilson, Lisa Robinson, Kelly Swope, Natalie Frazier, Tina Jolivet, JoAnn Jolivet, Delegate Adrienne Jones, Joan Bowen, Senator Delores Kelly and Pat Frazier.

Women spend 30 percent more time doing household chores. No surprise. But women also spend more time volunteering in their community. And if you add up all of the hours of non-leisure time, women are working more than men…Valerie Jarrett

The Baltimore Chapter of The Links incorporated hosted their 11th annual Empowered Women’s Leadership Luncheon at Morgan State University with Valerie Jarrett, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School and former senior advisor to President Barak Obama was the keynote speaker. More than 600 guests were in attendance including Gwainevere Catchings Hess, President of The Black Women’s Agenda, Inc. A special thanks to my host Dr. Charlene Cooper Boston and auctioneer Jonathan Melnick for such an exciting auction raising money for The Links scholarship programs.

“Yeah, I want somebody to hold my hand. Somebody to love me and understand, I want a woman. I want a lover, I want a friend (a woman, a lover, a friend)” Jackie Wilson

“Just one more thing…”  Columbo (Peter Falk) more Black Love couples who represent “love and happiness”

Marsha and Wes Hairston, Maxine and Bill Brooks, Florine “Peaches” and James “Winkey” Camphor, John and Charlotte Bullock, Shawn and Shayne Allen, Marvin and Ericka Harris, Albert and Elsie Maddox, Belinda and Harold Cornish, Dell and Tony Perry, Rita Horsley and Tim Johnson, Ronald and Jenifer Harvey, Ivy and Denard Smith , Aaron and Christie Jolivet, Dr. Gary and Verna Rodwell Jones and Rona and Leroy Bannister.

Wishing a happy birthday to Gloria “Tuttie” Bogans, Aldonna Wylie, Michele McNeill Emery, Diane Hocker, Mayor Catherine Pugh, The Honorable Stephanie Rawlings Blake, Debbie Taylor, Josephine Ore, Rita Horsley Johnson, Jimmy Gittings, John Shaft, Ronnie Tilghman, Marty Puryear, Aileen Rappaport, Michael Haynie and Myron Moe Bundy.

Welcome Spring!!!